For you to understand why I love animals, more specifically cats, I have to explain where the love comes from.
Growing up, my mom’s mom, my Grandma Burdick, LOVED animals. She worked at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, she would take my cousins and I bird watching, she rescued pets when she could…She was just an animal advocate.
I have so many fond memories of my Grandma Burdick. She kept the whole family together. She taught me how to bake cookies, taught me how to share, taught me how to treat people, and eventually, her love for animals rubbed off on me.
So it was tragic when she passed away when I was 10 years old. I felt like a big hole was left in my heart. And slowly, things started going downhill. My dad lost his job, we had to move four different times by the time I was fourteen,, and my parents split up. The family she once held together, slowly broke apart.
When I was nineteen, I got a tattoo to let her memory live on. A dove holding a holly berry branch with five holly berries, one to represent everyone in my immediate family.
Slowly, I started seeing more and more of my Grandma in my life. Stray animals would find their way to me because it’s as if they knew I would find them a good steady family. And it’s always been interesting to find the strays a family because usually the family I wind up being lead to has a reason behind it.
When I found Pong, I found him with another cat who was adopted to a home where she gets lots of love and attention. They wanted to adopt a cat to keep their child company because they found out that they couldn’t have another child, despite their several tries.
Rigby, was adopted by a lovely family with two young girls. Around that time, I needed to find a dentist here in Alabama. Low and behold, the mom of the family works at a dentistry.
Then, and most recently, was Gunther. He was a stray that walked around outside at Subway. When I first saw him, you could see his bones. He lived in the woods and came out at night because he knew that’s when I would be there with food. He was adopted to a great home where he is able to be loved and doesn’t have to worry about being out in the cold. In that particular family, is a young man who is taking American Sign Language as a major. Ironically, I decided to make ASL my minor. So he offered to help when I need it.
It’s funny how my Grandma leads animals to me, and in turn winds up helping me in life’s difficult feats.
Because of my Grandma, I think I will always have a bleeding heart for animals.
So thank you Grandma, for continuously showing me life, even after your death.